MERS Outbreak: 16 People Dead In South Korea, Five New Cases Reported From Saudi Arabia

The death toll from the deadly MERS virus outbreak in South Korea is increasing. The disease has claimed yet another victim. According to CNN, one more death has been reported from South Korea on Sunday, taking the confirmed death toll from the MERS virus to 16. Five new cases of the MERS virus infections have been reported from the country as well, a report by the South Korean Ministry Of Health confirmed on Monday.

Since the outbreak of MERS — short for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome — in South Korea last month, over 150 people have been treated for the infection. Of the 150 confirmed cases, 120 are still undergoing treatment.

Meanwhile Health Ministry officials from South Korea have said that the spread of the MERS virus has been contained and that the outbreak was slowing down in the country. However, they added that several new cases can be expected in the days to come.

South Korean officials have taken the MERS outbreak very seriously and several hospitals in Seoul have decided to suspend all surgical procedures except emergency cases in order to fully focus on controlling the outbreak. Samsung Medical Center — the hospital where the first case of MERS was reported a month ago — has issued an apology to patients and visitors after more than 50 cases reportedly originated from there.

“We sincerely apologize with our heads bent to the people for causing great concern as Samsung Medical Center became the center (of) the spread of MERS,” Song Jae-hoon, the president of the hospital said in a press release.

The first case of MERS in South Korea this year was reported a month ago when a 68-year-old man checked into the hospital with severe cough and fever. The man was back from a trip to four middle eastern countries and seemingly caught the infection from his trip.

Following the MERS virus outbreak, several people have been kept in quarantine and over 3,000 schools have been closed. Several schools plan to re-open on Monday.

As South Korea battles to save its people from the MERS outbreak, five news cases of MERS have been reported from Saudi Arabia, leading to fears that it could turn into a global epidemic. An official from the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health has confirmed the news, reports Al-Jazeera.

The Inquisitr had reported about the MERS outbreak last year as well as in 2013. In 2013, over 47 people were killed in the Middle East alone from the disease.

[Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]